Maine businesses that depend on tourists are really struggling, so I hope you are getting out to help them. Today I’m going to suggest some great places to visit, but please understand, these are only a few of all the wonderful places in our state for you to enjoy.

Let’s start with the southern Maine coast. My wife Linda and I especially enjoyed Kennebunkport and Ogunquit, with great inns and restaurants and amazing beaches, along with nice hiking trails. We loved the Nonantum resort in Kennebunkport and Meadowmere in Ogunquit, which has a wonderful 1½-mile paved walkway along the ocean.

We also loved Monhegan Island, which has great hiking trails and even their own brewery. There are lots of wonderful islands for you to visit. Rockland, Rockport and Camden have nice inns, restaurants, and oceanside walks. Our favorite place is the Samoset Resort, with lots of rooms with ocean views, indoor and outdoor pools, a fantastic restaurant, nice places to walk, and even a golf course.

Regular readers of this column know how much I love Lubec, right on the ocean and the eastern most town in our country, with the most beautiful lighthouse in Maine, where my great grandfather was the keeper for 30 years. Lubec has some nice inns and restaurants, and lots of great hikes.

There’s a lot to like in Boothbay Harbor, including boat rides to explore islands. Linda and I took a boat ride to the island, which was the first island settled in Maine, and enjoyed a hike all around the island. And we loved and often visited the Botanical Gardens, which are beautiful. If you’ve never been there, go now! And be sure to visit the gardens during their spectacular Christmas lights. They’re really amazing.

Well, let’s turn inland. Have you ever been to Aroostook County? My first visit there was when I drove my van ahead of congressional candidate Bill Cohen, who walked from the New Hampshire border all the way to Fort Kent. And it didn’t take long to discover how wonderful the county is.

Baxter Park must be on your list too. And you don’t have to climb a mountain to enjoy the park. There are nice cabins and campgrounds, and lots of easy walks, plus tons of wildlife. If you do want to climb a mountain, I recommend skipping Mount Katahdin and enjoying one of the park’s other mountains, which are easier hikes and a lot less crowded. Often you can be the only ones hiking that mountain. My favorite is Mt. Coe.

We also like the Rangeley area, with some nice inns, great restaurants, beautiful drives, and yes, awesome fishing!

Bethel was another favorite when we were writing travel columns. We always stayed at the Bethel Inn and our favorite restaurant was 22 Broad Street.

And if you’ve never been to Greenville, put it on your list. They have some beautiful inns and great restaurants, with easy access to the northern forest. I recommend taking a ride up Moosehead Lake in the ship that is docked downtown, and a float plane ride too.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that central Maine has wonderful lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, forests, hikes, and yes, restaurants. Our favorite is Calzolaio restaurant in Wilton, which offers amazing Italian food. We’ve sent lots of people there and everyone has loved it.

We’ve also enjoyed Bangor’s good restaurants over the years, as well as events at the Cross Insurance Center.

I’m sure you have a favorite restaurant in Portland. Ours is Hot Suppa, a small place on the western end of Congress Street. Two brothers own it, including one who learned to cook in New Orleans, which gives us a very tasty menu of creative food.

I hope you have favorite restaurants and events in our area. Linda and I have lots of favorites, many of which we wrote about in our weekly travel columns for the KJ and Sentinel. You can still access and read those columns at www.georgesmithmaine.com. Choose Best of Maine and a city or town and you’ll get the columns we wrote about places in that town.

Enjoy Maine!

George Smith can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected] Read more of Smith’s writings at www.georgesmithmaine.com.


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